Hello and welcome to the June edition of the monthly health and safety newsletter.

At the time of writing this newsletter and over the past 4 weeks since the issue of the May newsletter, there has been a number of changes relating to UK Policy re Covid-19.

Inside this issue:

  1. Covid-19 – Update
  2. PPE Alert
  3. Common Prosecutions
  4. Safety Culture App
  5. In Court 

Coved 19 update:

As a result of COVID-19, it is no longer business as usual. As businesses ramp back up and employees return to the workplace, employers need a plan to reopen keeping a balance between employee health and productivity top of mind.

Your COVID-19 Preparedness Plan should establish and explain the necessary policies, practices and conditions necessary to meet any regulatory requirements in the countries, states or provinces in which you do business.

We have a dedicated section on our web site with lots of information, and downloadable posters all at COVID-19 Downloads

PPE Alert:

HSE issue a safety alert on the use of KN95 face masks
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning against the use of KN95 facemasks as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

KN95 is a performance rating that is broadly equivalent to the EU standard for FFP2 facemasks. Products manufactured to KN95 requirements rely on a self-declaration of compliance by the manufacturer. There is no independent certification or assurance of their quality

This respirator has been identified as a suspect by HSE experts and locally arranged testing has confirmed they would not meet requirements, including to protect against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. About 90% of the PPE concerns and queries currently being received by HSE involve KN95 masks which are often accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.

HSE has quarantined around 1.5 million KN95 masks, prevented 25 million items claiming to be FFP3 respirators entering the supply chain and prevented a further four lines consisting of many millions of items entering the supply chain.

A spokesperson for the HSE stated “We understand a lot of people, mainly in sectors outside of healthcare, have bought these facemasks without realising they are non-compliant. We are concerned that people wearing them are not being protected from breathing in harmful substances in the way they expect. Protective equipment must protect”

PPE is often times the most common means by which we provide protection to employees from the day to day workplace hazards such as noise, chemicals, or handling sharp or rough materials

However– we should be reminded that in the established risk control hierarchy we should know that PPE is the last measure to be adopted

1. Eliminate – 2. Reduce – 3. Prevent Contact – 4. Safe Systems of Work – 5. PPE

Employer common prosecutions:

It’s hopefully not something that you would want to experience, but as Employers, i.e. Managing Directors, Owners, of a business there are stringent legal standards to which you are held to be responsible and subsequently accountable
Predominant legislation is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which places a number of duties on Employers– all of which can be cited if breached.

Where there is the deliberate flaunting of a legal requirement sometimes cited as connivance the following sections of the act can be used by the Enforcing Authorities in a criminal court:

Section 36 HSWA states that where the commission of an offence is due to the act or default of some other person, that other person is also liable to be prosecuted for the offence, whether or not proceedings are brought against the principal (i.e. where someone is told to do something which is patently unsafe; the person issuing the instruction can be liable);

Section 37 HSWA provides that, if a company commits a health and safety offence, then its directors or officers can be prosecuted where the offence can be shown to have been committed through the consent, connivance or neglect of the individuals subject of the prosecution. Neglect includes the idea that the individual didn’t act on information he or she should have been aware of.

Safety Culture snapshot App:

Safety culture is often cited as the prevailing attitude of employees in a workplace to working safely- The culture is, of course, a mirror reflection of the attitude of Managers and Directors

Gensuite, a configurable best practice, cloud-based HSE software platform provider, in partnership with European safety leadership consulting firm RMS, is offering the free Safety Culture Snapshot App to managers, supervisors and team leaders looking to assess and enhance their team’s safety culture

The foundation of health & safety excellence is a strong safety culture. With the new App, users are said to be able to quickly evaluate where a team’s safety culture stands by utilising the new free digital assessment application and access free digital resources for continued learning, growth, and training, all directly from the App.

• Complete the simple 20-question assessment for your snapshot.

• Check out your numerical and qualitative safety culture rating, highlighting the maturity of your current safety culture, and explore the tailored recommendations based on your responses to improve in key areas of leadership, behaviour, and performance.

Access exclusive free continuing education and training resources, including podcasts, articles, and videos, to power your journey to safety excellence.
To find out more go to this link Snapshot App Form

In Court:

Worker crushed during lifting operation
A worker was seriously injured when roof trusses toppled over while being moved by a crane at a site in East Mersea, Essex, Chelmsford Crown Court was told. The incident happened in July 2017.
The HSE’s investigation discovered that scaffolding was not installed around and within the building to enable workers to have a safe area of work. Lifting the roof trusses in packs creat-ed risks which were not sufficiently managed. The company and company owner had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work under their control.
JWB (Mersea) Ltd of Westwood Drive, West Mersea, Colchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £1,000.
Company director and owner, Jason Whiting, of the same address, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He received a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 24 months. He was required to do 240 hours of unpaid work. HSE was awarded full costs of £25,627.32.
£1.1million pound fine after ladder fall
A London-based relocation and refurbishment company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from a height.
Luton Crown Court heard that on 5 September 2016, an engineer was testing a sprinkler system for leaks at a site in Hemel Hempstead. He climbed onto an internal roof and was inspecting the leak from an extension ladder.
The ladder slipped away from him and he fell almost three metres into the gap between the internal roof and the external wall. The worker suffered severe blood loss, amounting to around half of his bloodstream.
He required a blood transfusion and needed 14 stitches to his head. He also sustained a fractured vertebra and suffered soft tissue damage.
The HSE investigation found that reasonably practicable measures had not been taken to prevent a fall from the internal roof for both the engineer and other contractors working on the roof.
The investigation found that Modus Workspace Limited, the principal contractor, had failed to discharge its duty to ensure those not in their employment were not exposed to risks, in particular, that of falling from a height.
Modus Workspace Limited of Greencoat Place, London was found guilty after a five-week trial of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act of 1974. The company was fined £1.1 million and ordered to pay costs of £68,116.18.

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